Despite the fact that the Conservative party under Andrew Scheer won more seats and the popular vote, they were unable to form a majority government. Do we need a new leader or a change in policies?
The last election was devoid of debate on the real issues. All parties had their agenda defined by a climate change narrative which has become the basis for economic as well as social debates. The left has used rhetoric branding every conservative policy as far right and therefore against Canadian values. Identity politics has become the main starting point for any debate. Political correctness defines what and how governments should create and implement policies. In that environment it is very difficult for a conservative leader to express himself without being seen as being a bigot, a xenophobe and be branded by other disparaging epithets.
Well before the last election, the Liberals helped by the media and the education system have been able to fashion the Conservative party to their image. Increasingly conservatives have been forced to move further to the left. For a long time the party was known as the Progressive Conservative party. Progressive means moving to the left, adopting many of the principles opposite to true conservative principles. A small ‘c’ conservative used to believe in limited government, the free market, individual liberty and personal responsibility an empowerment to solve problems. In this election, none of these principles were articulated and supported in the campaign.
I did not support Andrew Scheer in the leadership race. Not because I disliked him but because of his previous position in government. In Canada it is the Speaker's responsibility to manage the House of Commons and supervise its staff. It is also the Speaker's duty to act as a liaison with the Senate and the Crown. His role was to be fair and impartial and therefore, in my view this position did not prepare him to be a leader but rather one of conciliator, and his campaign style proved that he was unable to put forward the party’s right to govern, In a climate where the previous government and its leader had been found to be deficient in many areas, Scheer was unable or perhaps unwilling to attack his opponents. In fact he allowed himself to be attacked on his social views and his citizenship.
Under Scheer’s leadership the party did not differentiate itself enough to win the large cities electorate and more women voters. Economic policies were not articulated properly and used the old boutique taxation policies. Climate change which was a main electoral issue was not addressed properly with clearly defined policies and was left to a Swedish juvenile to dictate how adults should vote. There was no attack on the Prime Minister’s ethical and contemptuous behavior.
Scheer never addressed Quebec’s Bill 21, which banned religious symbols. This Bill which many found to be of a racist nature was never contrasted with attacks on his religious belief. He was attacked for not attending a Pride Parade, by no other than a former Conservative operative. The question is when did attending a parade become a prerequisite to be Prime Minister? Especially when the organizers of such a parade have banned organizations from taking part when they wanted to do so. Freedom of speech today is defined only by the left, and Scheer did not protect this right. Hate speech should never be condoned, but we should not allow others to define us through accusations of bias and bigotry when no such thing is being imposed. The Conservative Party of Canada abides by past laws and has never stopped defending them. In a democracy we still have the right to have beliefs without infringing on other people’s beliefs.
The conundrum for the Conservative Party is not whether they should choose a new leader, but rather what it stands for in the future. A change in leadership does not require a change in individual or personality, but rather requires a change in beliefs and policies. Does the party believe in progressive ideas or does it go back to true conservative principles as mentioned above? More importantly once that determination has been made, does the party find someone who can articulate and defend these principles?
The party has some months to ponder these questions, the membership should clearly think about the country as a whole and decide whether the Conservative party is prepared to unite the country or leave it to the left to continue their policies of division to get re-elected.